How to Start an Orange County Divorce Case

Help for the broken road of an Orange County divorce

Here's some helpful information for your Orange County Divorce. I hope that you will find the information presented here helpful as you navigate through your divorce. Whether you decide to hire an experienced Orange County divorce attorney or decide to file without one, the information provided will give you a better understanding of California divorce law. (Nothing on this website is legal advice, only information)

Residency requirements

First, how long have you lived in California? To file for divorce in California, you must have lived in California the last six months. Second question, how long have you lived in Orange County? To file for a divorce in Orange County you must have lived here for the last three months. If you just moved to Orange County, there is a way to file in Orange County now, but it will take longer for your divorce to become final. It takes a minimum of six months for a divorce to become final. 

How do I file for divorce in Orange County?

The legal term for divorce is dissolution. You will need the following forms to file for divorce: 

  1. The Petition (form FL-100)
  2. The Summons (form FL-110)
  3. The Family Law Declaration Regarding Related Cases (form L1120)
  4. Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (form FL-105) - You only need this form if you have children from the marriage you are dissolving. 
  5. Blank forms - a blank UCCJEA (form FL-105) and a blank Response (form FL-120). 

If you want to file for divorce without an Orange County divorce attorney, you will need to take this packet and make two copies of the completed forms - not the blanks - to the Lamoreaux Justice Center located at 341 The City Drive South, Orange, California 92868.

(Lamoreaux is across the street from The Outlets at Orange, formerly known as The Block at Orange. More specifically its across from the Krispy Kreme. You can park in the main structure. There is a security check point with metal detectors.)


Take the original filled out forms, the 2 copies, and the blank forms to the Family Law Clerk's Office. You will need to pay the filing fee. The court takes cash, check, credit cards, or money orders. You can also mail them, but you will need to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with enough postage so the two sets of copies can be mailed back to you and don't forget to add a check made payable to the Clerk of the Court. 


The Family Law Clerk's Office will stamp your completed forms - originals and the copies - and assign you a case number. The original goes into the court's file and you get the two copies. The stamped copies are called "conformed" copies. You now have two file-stamped copies of your divorce packet and the blank forms. One copy is for you and the other copy will need to be "served" to your spouse or partner. 




How do I serve my divorce papers to my spouse or partner in Orange County?

Serving someone is a legal term with special meaning. You cannot give your divorce papers to your spouse or partner yourself. You must have a third party who is 18 years and older give them the copies of the forms. Once this is done have the person sign a completed Proof of Service (form FL-115). You must file the Proof of Service. You can also mail the forms to your spouse or partner, if they will sign a Notice and Acknowledgement (form FL-117). There is a Notice and Acknowledgement for civil cases, so make sure you use the Family Law form. Fill out the Notice and Acknowledgement and have two copies of the Notice mailed by a third party. Then have your spouse or partner sign one copy and return it to the third party. Have the third party sign the proof of service, then file the Notice with the Proof of Service. 

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Song Family Law - Mission Viejo

27201 Puerta Real, Suite 300

Mission Viejo, CA 92691


Song Family Law - Orange

500 N. State College, Suite 1100

Orange, CA 92868


(888) 999-0259